20131202 Devotion adds flame to charity 虔誠熾熱愛心

In the last few months we have looked at the lives of the children of Fatima, modern saints and blesseds, and founders of ecclesial movements and communities. The teachings and examples of these holy people point to the “universal call to holiness.”
You can review these articles at my personal site (www.fatheranthonyho.com). Starting this week, we are going to explore the spiritual life based on the spiritual classic of St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622): An Introduction to the Devout Life.
Devotion and love of God are inseparable. St. Francis wrote, “As charity leads us to obey and fulfill all God’s commandments, so devotion leads us to obey them with promptitude and diligence.”
The saint pointed out that charity and devotion differ no more than flame and fire. “Charity is a spiritual fire which, when it flames brightly, becomes devotion; and devotion adds to the fire of charity a flame which renders it ready, active, and diligent, not only in keeping His commandments, but in carrying out His heavenly inspirations and counsels of perfection.”
St. Therese of Lisieux said, “Sanctity does not consist in this or that practice, but in a disposition of heart which makes us humble and small in the arms of God.”
Holiness consists not in the multiplication of devotional practices, but in the fulfillment of the will of God in the ordinariness of daily life.

Devotion is joyful
St. Francis de Sales pointed out that a devout life is not sad and gloomy, but happy and lovely. St. Teresa of Avila said, “A sad nun is a bad nun. I am more afraid of one unhappy sister than a crowd of evil spirits.”
“What would happen if we hid what little sense of humour we have? Let each of us humbly use this to cheer others.” She prayed, “God deliver me from sad-faced saints.”
Saints are not sad. They are people filled with joy, which is the fruit of charity.
“Devotion” is spiritual sugar which gives sweetness to mortification, disciplines, penance, sacrifice, and suffering. The devout life is like a ladder which allows us to descend in action to the aid of neighbour and to ascend in contemplation to a loving union with God. Living the devout life means finding true happiness in God, and sharing this happiness with others.

Devotion is universal
The “universal call to holiness” is an important theme of the Second Vatican Council and the Pontificate of Blessed John Paul II.
St. Francis de Sales pointed out that devotion is suitable to all kinds of vocations and professions. “The practice of devotion must be adapted to the capabilities, the engagements, and the duties of each individual,” for “true devotion hinders no one, but rather it perfects everything, and whenever it is out of keeping with any person’s legitimate vocation, it must be spurious.”
To live the devout life, one must fulfill one’s daily duties out of love for God. St. Josemaria Escriva teaches us that all the faithful are called to be holy through work.
He wrote, “It is we, men walking in the street, ordinary Christians immersed in the bloodstream of society, whom Our Lord wants to be saints and apostles, in the very midst of our professional work; that is, sanctifying our job in life, sanctifying ourselves in it, and through it, helping others to sanctify themselves as well.”
“Do everything for Love. Thus there will be no little things: everything will be big. Perseverance in little things for Love is heroism.”
Blessed John Paul II said, “True holiness does not mean a flight from the world; rather it lies in the effort to incarnate the Gospel in everyday life: in the family, at school and at work, and in social and political involvement.”






聖方濟.沙雷指出,虔誠的生活不是哀愁憂鬱,反而是快樂可愛。聖女大德蘭說:「愁眉苦臉的修女,不會是個好的修女。我怕一個不快樂的修女,多過怕一群凶惡的魔鬼… 把內心僅有的幽默感都收藏起來,你可想像情況會怎樣?讓我們每個人,謙卑地運用自己的幽默,以娛他人。」她祈禱說:「天主,救我於苦臉的聖人。」聖人不會是憂鬱的人,他們是充滿喜樂,因為那是愛德的果實。




要渡虔誠的生活,必需每天為愛天主而善盡本份。聖施禮華神父教我們,信友們是在他們的工作中被召叫成聖。聖人寫道:「那就是我們,每天活在社群中,在街上與別人無異地熙來攘往,被天主召叫在我們的專業工作中成聖人和使徒。我們要在生命中聖化工作,在工作中聖化自己,並藉工作幫助他人成聖。」「 為了愛而做每一件事。因而將沒有微不足道的事:每件事都是偉大的。為了愛而在小事情上恆心到底是英雄的表現。」


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